The mother of a Gambian migrant who went missing in Libya, said the time she last heard from her son was four years ago. “We communicated only twice after his departure and all I hear afterwards, were stories of him from colleagues he departed with. Some stories claim that he is captured and put in detention by militant fighters in Libya, whilst others speak of rumors of his death in the desert,” Saruba Badjie, a desperate and weary mother of three, told this reporter.
Saruba Badjie resides in Brikama Town in Western Gambia. The mother of three including the son in Libya, is suffering from psychological trauma regarding the prolonged disappearance of her son, who according to her, headed for Europe since May 2014. Tapha Saine is the son of Saruba Badjie and he left for Europe through the infamous backway since May 2014, and went missing in North Africa a few months later.
Saruba Badjie, who could hardly keep her voice steady when this reporter spoke to her, recounted the charm, hard work and responsibility in her son; that he would offer her extra hand in her garden as well as take care of the younger kids at home. Saruba who was in deep emotion, said she strongly believes that her son’s determination to succeed, motivated him to brave the dangerous of the Sahara desert, to journey abroad for the sake of the family.
Painting a picture of how deep Tapha’s disappearance affects her mental wellbeing, the grief-stricken mother of three disclosed how she cries whenever his friends call their family members from Italy.
“It’s really painful for me. I break cry anytime I hear his friends’ voices on the phone. They bring back memories of my son over and again,” she sobbed.
Tapha’s story comes at a time when many young Gambians were risking their lives, taking the backway to reach Europe, without fully understanding the risks involved in this perilous journey. His story reminds us of families who lost track of their loved ones when they choose to make this dangerous journey and disappeared without trace.
Saruba concluded by encouraging mothers, to advise against these risky adventures and hopes someone who reads this story, will help her trace her son.